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Diggy Mottram, John Gannaway, Norman Bull

SURREY FILM FESTIVAL 2005

By John Gollop

Diggie Mottram, John Gannaway & Norman Bull proudly show off their spoils of success

This year, the Surrey Film Festival made a welcome return to one of its previous venues, the Electric Theatre in Guildford. The Festival took place on 22 January 2005 and, together with Diggie and Eve, we made our usual pilgrimage and were able to enjoy a varied and well presented show which included a number of entries from our own members.

Overall there were 38 entries with a good mix of fiction, documentaries, comedies and others. As always, due to the time available, not all entries could be screened but the organisers were able to fit in some 27 of these.

Having got through the preliminaries including the safety briefing ("If you see Terence Patrick rushing towards the emergency exit on my right, you can assume that there is probably a fire in the auditorium") the show got under way.

There were of course too many films to describe in detail but those of note include the following:-

Natalie: An excellently written and performed murder mystery which, perhaps, still leaves you guessing at the end. We had seen this before but, even so, it was well worth a second viewing. The film received a Certificate of Merit

In the Genes: A documentary which outlines the setting up of a ceramics business and its continuation through successive generations of the same family; obviously the skill and interest was, as the title suggests, "in the genes". The film received a trophy for the best film by an IAC member

Lady Cassandra Goes to Sea: A film which details how a narrow boat, normally confining its activities to river or canal trips, undertook a passage from Bristol across the open sea: a rather frightening venture. This, perhaps, deserved greater recognition by the judges but another film by the same maker did get an award for special merit.

Leopard Kill Rampage: As the title suggests, this film shows nature in the raw with some excellent and dramatic shots of a "kill" in the African plains and how various forms of wild life take their turn at sharing the spoils. The film received the Natural History award.

The Phantom of Milford St Giles: Anyone who has seen and enjoyed the maker’s earlier film "Above and Beyond" will look forward to this sequel, after a gap of some 20 years. The film details the further animated adventures, with a voice-over in rhyming couplets, of a mystical Teddy Bear and his contribution to the RAF’s war efforts. The film won the award for animation. We understand from the maker that a third film in the series is in its early stages.

The runner-up trophy was won by "My Heart is Broken" a story about a young run-away boy who is taken in by a drug dealer and used by him for deliveries with a rather tragic outcome. Although the subject may not be to everyone’s taste, this was a well written and produced film which also won the award for the best entry from outside Surrey.

The overall winner was Circle Eight’s entry "The Grand Hall". This relates the history of a manor house over a period of time as told by the present owner, the son of a former gardener employed at the house, who having realised his ambition of acquiring the property, is finding the upkeep rather beyond his means. The film is an ambitious production which a large cast and though rather lengthy at 33 minutes manages to hold the audience’s interest throughout. The film also won the Surrey Fiction Award.

But what of the Epsom entries? Of these, the Club film"’s all Over" directed and edited by John Gannaway won a Certificate of Merit, whilst Norman's "A Fleating Visit" took the Special Effects Cup and Diggie’s "The Pioneers " was awarded the Surrey Documentary Cup. A very satisfactory and well deserved outcome from Epsom’s point of view and the winners are to be congratulated.

Although there were one of two minor glitches, the back projection system worked very well. Our congratulations must go to the organisers for what was an excellent presentation and for taking on the unenviable task of having to select from the 38 entries a programme which, although it would inevitably leave some film makers disappointed, would nevertheless please the audience. In this latter respect we think that they can justifiably feel satisfied.

SECOND TAKE FEBRUARY 2005

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